WASHINGTON — After news broke overnight that North Korea claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said that "for 20 years, diplomacy by itself appears not to have worked very well."
"Sanctions, without Russia and China being interested in solving this problem, don’t work very well," the senator said on Sunday's "Meet The Press."
"I think the president putting everything on the table is not a bad thing right now, both for North Korea, but maybe more importantly for China to be thinking about how consequential this behavior is," said Blunt, a member of the Senate Republican leadership.
This was North Korea's sixth reported nuclear test, and appears to have escalated the already fraught relationship between President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.
Blunt, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that North Korea has been a central focus of the committee’s work.
“In the last year this has probably been the number one topic,” he said. “Month after month: what was happening there, what were we going to do about it? I hope the neighborhood understands how critical this is.”
The senator on Sunday also didn’t budge when asked about Trump’s criticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling them “both tough men” and also “both longtime negotiators.”
Blunt was pressed on criticism by former Republican Sen. Jack Danforth, also of Missouri, who recently wrote a column calling Trump “the most divisive president in our history.”
“We have to work with the president,” Blunt said. “I think it's a mistake to get in a fight with the president. It's not a mistake to disagree when you disagree. It is a mistake to suggest that somehow this president, who was elected just as the Constitution prescribed and has the responsibility to lead the country, that somehow we need to not work with this president I think is a bad road to go down.”